It is the time of year where people are all about improving their health. For most that means focusing on overhauling their diets and adding a ton of exercise.
If you are ready to make a change for the better, the most important thing I think you can do is develop a lifelong movement habit.
YES I THINK IT’S MORE IMPORTANT TO HAVE A MOVEMENT HABIT THAN TO WORK ON YOUR DIET AND EXERCISE HABITS!!!
It is tempting to focus on the flashy things.
The hardcore fitness routine.
The extremely restrictive diet.
How much you can make the scale move in the shortest amount of time?
These things might make you feel good in the short term, but they will do nothing for your long term success.
All the successful people I know have a movement habit that never fades, never goes away, never wavers. They do it basically everyday, all the time, year around, year after year.
For myself, that habit is walking. Below is a graph of my steps since December 2017 (for some reason my Oura ring has a gap of a few months in there of missing data but I assure you that I was walking!)
On average, over the past 5 years I have taken 16,000 steps a day. In the past year or so I am below that average and my guess is because I have incorporated other modalities into my movement routine like the row erg, biking, and ski erg and that data is not captured in the graph. That said, this past year I still averaged 15,000 steps a day.
The point is walking is a movement habit that I like, I don’t have to force myself to do it, I don’t even need to think about it. I subconsciously take time during my day to walk, it brings me joy, peace of mind, gives me time with my family, time in nature, not to mention all the health benefits that come along with that.
Walking is my modality, it’s not the only modality, and it might not be the right one for you. Also, don’t think it needs to be a single modality, you could certainly combine one, two, or three modalities.
Why is finding a lifelong movement habit important?
Movement regulates your appetite , it burns more calories than being sedentary, it burns more calories than exercise, it brings you joy , it will take you outside, it will improve your sleep , it will likely allow you to engage with others . A movement practice pretty much impacts all of the major pillars of health.
It is no surprise that healthy older individuals have a consistent movement habit. What happens time and time again in the older population is their movement habit gets taken away from them for one reason or another, and all of a sudden their health declines. Most older individuals are not doing a crazy exercise routine or following the latest fad diet, but they are moving and moving frequently, and have been doing it for most of their life.
The point is if you are looking to make a lasting change, find a modality that you love, that brings you joy, peace of mind, and social connection much like walking does for me. When you find something like that, it’s no longer a burden or something you have to think about doing, it’s something you do because you love it, and that means you can sustain it. Every week I send out information in my newsletter that helps people find and develop health and wellness habits that they can sustain for a lifetime. Jump on my newsletter by filling out the form below and you get all this information for free!
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